DOH-Alachua Recognizes World Aids Day

This press release published at the request of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County.

Health department buildingOn Sunday, the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County (DOH-Alachua) recognized World AIDS Day. Each year on December 1, people around the world observe World AIDS Day. The day provides an opportunity to show solidarity for those affected by HIV and memorialize those who have lost their lives to the disease. This year’s national World AIDS Day theme is “Ending the HIV Epidemic: Community by Community.” Over the weekend, communities across the state came together in support of those living with HIV and to remember those we’ve lost. 

In 2018, 119,661 people were living with HIV in Florida. More than half of the 4,906 new diagnoses were for people between the ages of 20-39. Florida experiences a high burden of the HIV epidemic, and the DOH-Alachua is committed to connecting people to the resources they need to be able to live long, healthy lives. The first step is to get tested.

“This World AIDS Day, we show our support for all persons living with HIV/AIDS in Florida and commemorate the lives that have been lost to this illness,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “We remain committed to ending the epidemic across the Sunshine State.”

“We will never forget those who have lost their lives to HIV/AIDS, and we will always remain committed to caring for persons living with this disease and preventing transmission,” said Florida Surgeon General Scott A. Rivkees. “Florida Health has one of the nation’s most comprehensive statewide plans to eliminate HIV/AIDS and we look forward to the day when this epidemic has been eradicated.” 

Florida is a national leader in HIV testing and there are many ways to get tested. HIV testing is provided at all 67 County Health Departments. Visit the Know Your HIV Status website to learn about testing options or order a free at-home HIV testing kit (sent by mail) while supplies last.

For more information on HIV testing in Alachua County, contact FDOH-Alachua (224 S.E. 24th Street, Gainesville) at 352-334-7972 or the WellFlorida Council (1785 N.W. 80th Blvd, Gainesville) at 352-415-0464.

For those who test positive, earlier diagnosis leads to more successful treatment. Immediate treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART) typically leads to long, healthy lives for people living with HIV. It’s also a method of HIV prevention. ART reduces the amount of HIV in the body, which makes it harder to transmit to others. 

For those who test negative, there are more prevention options than ever before. A health care provider can do a risk/needs assessment to determine appropriate next steps, which might include taking PrEP and using condoms to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV. Prevention may also take the form of regular retesting. 

For more information on PrEP, contact FDOH-Alachua at 352-334-7900 ext. 3417.

In February 2019, President Trump announced his administration's goal to end the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030. The resulting initiative, called "Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America” is already well underway. The goal of the initiative is to reduce new HIV infections by 75 percent in the next five years and by 90 percent by 2030. 

For more information about HIV prevention and treatment, call 1-800-FLA-AIDS or 1-800-3522437; en Espanol, 1-800-545-SIDA; in Creole, 1-800-AIDS-101. To learn where to get tested, visit the Know Your HIV Status website.

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